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A big red bow is one of the most popular finishing touches people turn to during the holidays – and not just for wreaths. People attach them to sleds as part of their porch decor. They tie them to the backs of dining room chairs. They dress dog, lion or other animal statuary with them near the entrance to their homes. Instantly festive!

Here are some other finishing touches we’ve gathered as we near the finishing line:

• Tuck pine cones anywhere you can think of. Place a large one under a clear glass dome. Line them up on a window sill. You may have collected pine cones from your yard earlier this fall, but you can also buy them. Some even have snowy white tips.

• Temporarily transform fruit into holiday decor. Grab a cake stand and pile on apples, pomegranates, pears, cranberries, oranges, lemons, limes – whatever works with your holiday decor. Scatter fresh Christmas greens around them. You can use fresh fruit but also faux.

• Speaking of faux, don’t be afraid to mix it in with real. Even if your tree is artificial, you can still add fresh boughs to the mantel as a fragrant finishing touch to your living room.

• Use interesting old ornaments as gift toppers. James Walaski-Miller, co-owner of Miss Josie’s Antiques, 2824 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, collects antique ones from flea markets all year and does this for Christmas gifts.

“I hold them together with florist wire and then add curling ribbon,” he said.

You can also use ornaments as place cards at the dinner table.

“Use a metallic pen or cool-colored Sharpie to write the person’s name and date on it, and they can take it home with them,” he said.

• Dress up your poinsettia, amaryllis or other holiday plant by placing it in a galvanized bucket, garden urn or other container you use in the summer that is now empty, suggested Carole Melnik, owner of A Snail’s Place gift shop and florist, 6550 Seneca St., Elma.

Don’t replant. Just place inside. That way, if you overwater the plant, you can just empty the bucket.

“If you want to dress it up even more, cover the soil with pine cones and put a bow on the handle of the bucket,” Melnik said. Just be sure the container doesn’t have a hole in the bottom that water can leak through onto your tabletop, she added.

• Candy makes instant holiday decor. Pour candy in the same color as the main color of your room or tree decorations into clear apothecary jars with lids and set on a mantel or table.

• Layer table linens. Angle a red cloth or a vintage Christmas-print cloth over a larger white one. Or add a table runner. It can have a holiday theme. Or it doesn’t have to be a cloth table runner at all. Run ribbons down the center of the table. Or a door mirror. Or, as Walaski-Miller recalled one friend doing, red and green mylar confetti. The plates were prepared in the kitchen so it didn’t get in the way of the food and looked great, he said.

• A fun idea from Better Homes and Gardens: Hang spray-starched vintage – or vintage-style – holiday aprons at a kitchen window as a unique take on café curtains.

And another: Place an assortment of color-coordinated ornaments in a large square or rectangular vase on a pretty tray. Sprinkle the display with faux snow (BHG suggests coconut as an alternative) and wrap the vase in ribbon tied in a bow at the top.

Simple to do but dazzling.

email: smartin@buffnews.com